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Asian garden concepts are increasingly finding their way into Germany. Bamboo in particular, with its numerous species, is a popular plant that is immediately reminiscent of the bamboo forests of Japan, pandas in China or the Buddhist garden. Since the local climate can be quite harsh, garden owners wonder whether it is worth growing bamboo at all. Here the question arises: is bamboo hardy and if so, which species are suitable.
Is bamboo hardy?
The plant family of bamboos (bot. Bamboooideae) includes about 116 genera that occur all over the world except for Europe and Antarctica. The genera are divided into around 1,439 species. Due to this variety of species, it is difficult to make a statement about the hardiness of the family. However, there are numerous species that can easily withstand temperatures down to -28°C, to which the question can be answered with a yes. But only if a suitable species has been selected. The following species have proven to be suitable for German winters and are definitely recommended for your garden.
Fargesia species are extremely popular in Germany and are perfect for local gardens due to their vigorous growth and winter hardiness. Especially that one Muriel Bamboo (bot. Fargesia murielae) is recommended here, but you can easily choose one of the varieties. Depending on the variety, the growth height varies between 1.5 and 6 m and these types of bamboo are close together with their culms. They do not form runners, which makes a rhizome barrier unnecessary.Fargesia murielae, umbrella bamboo, Muriel bamboo
The second genus that lends itself to winter is Phyllostachys. Depending on the type and variety, these can reach heights of up to ten meters. Is particularly interesting Phyllostachys bissetii, the bite bamboo, which has excellent winter hardiness. They form offshoots and therefore need a rhizome barrier.
These two genera survive every winter, but you should check the specified hardiness before buying a variety. The hardiness here varies from -20°C to -28°C, which makes a big difference. Other bamboo species that are suitable for the winter but are not so common are the following.
- sasa and Hibanobambusa: only a few species
- pleioblastus: only up to -20°
Tip: A large part of the bamboo species that are offered in Germany are hardy, as they would otherwise die at the slightest sign of frost. These are woody species that come exclusively from the cool regions of China and Japan and can therefore survive the winter in central Europe.
Hardiness for hedges and solitary plants
The hardiness of the species mentioned above can be strongly influenced by environmental influences. Even though bamboos are hardy, the following climatic factors can affect the plant in winter.
- dry winds from the east
- length of winter
- ground conditions
- Amount of sunlight or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight without protection
Bamboos have the problem that they dry out quickly due to the above points and then die. The so-called drought stress can kill individual plant parts or the plant itself. This is mainly due to unprotected locations that are exposed to strong, drying east winds in combination with too much sunlight. Too much direct sun causes excessive evaporation of plant juices, which has a negative effect on winter hardiness. This applies to all your types of bamboo in the garden and cannot be overlooked.
The right winter care is particularly helpful and includes the following methods:
- should be watered before coming frost periods
- Snow should be left on wet snow as a natural protective and insulating layer
- the plant should be in a sheltered spot
- they should be shaded, for example, by a fleece; particularly effective on hedges
- a leaf cover is good for hedges to retain moisture
Please note that these measures are particularly necessary in the first 2 - 3 years of the plant's life. Bamboos take quite a long time to get used to a location. After that, however, they don't need any protection at all and are fully protected against the winter, not even suffering from harsh winters or drought stress.Bamboo for an Asian garden concept
Winter hardiness in potted plants
However, keeping bamboos in buckets has proven to be problematic, since the danger here is high drought stress is much higher. The reasons for this are the rapid loss of moisture and the possible freezing of the substrate in the bucket, which has a negative effect on the vitality of the Bambusoideae. Even adult specimens need special winter protection in order to take full advantage of the plant's winter hardiness, since their roots cannot spread as far into the ground as their relatives in the garden.
The following solutions are recommended for this problem:
- pack the bucket with insulation made of styrofoam, bubble wrap or a coconut mat
- plant the tub directly in the ground and dig up again after the winter
- slightly sunny location on a house wall that does not face east
Otherwise, regular watering should not be forgotten, as this prevents possible drought stress.